When is a kitchen just a kitchen? Part One.

Sometimes, I think I worry, read and research too much for my own good.

It's incredibly smart planning on Cupid's part that my husband is the laid back, fun-loving, relaxed parent, meanwhile I'm the stressed out, planning for the apocalypse, searching for the balance between fun and too much fun parent.

Yeah, I'm the kill joy.

I recently read Peggy Orenstein's book "Cinderella Ate my Daughter." It was the perfect amount of feminist meets the modern day woman. Instead of insisting we go out and burn our bras, Orenstein makes us question the mere act of not only burning a bra, but what it means to be wearing one.

Unless you're a woman yourself or are raising a little girl, I don't think you realize how damn hard it is to be a female these days.

Sometimes, I think stay-at-home-mom and housewife era of the 1950s would have been more simple than 2011. Nowadays we're told that we can be anything, do what we want and be what we want.

But can we really?

I have a plethora of friends all who range from stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms, part-time working moms and full-on-out-of-the-house-40-hours-a-week working moms and honestly, none of them feel 100% comfortable with their choice.

The stay-at-home moms feel as if they're not really "good enough." They feel as though many of their working mom friends look down on them because they "don't do as much" and by not juggling family life and a career life that they're not really "having it all."

And the working moms feel like they're not mother-of-the-year candidates because they're choosing to leave their babies to pursue their careers. Whether they're the bread winner of the family or just supplemental income, working mamas feel just as judged for not choosing mommyhood over a career.

Of course, there are plenty who are thriving and comfortable in their situations, but it does leave one to wonder, what about the others?

My husband and I were on a mission Sunday. We wanted to find a play kitchen for our daughter that could both stand the test of time (aka, when she gets older) and one that wasn't completely sexist.

Wait a minute, how could a toy kitchen be sexist?

Simple enough, really. There are a lot of families out there who would balk at buying their little boys a toy kitchen or a baby doll because those are traditionally seen as "female" interests. On the other end of the spectrum however, many parents of girls would jump at the chance to buy their daughters G.I. Joes instead of Barbies.

So who's right?

I'm not sure it's a matter of right or wrong, but more a balance between the two. I don't think we should segregate toys into "boy" toys and "girl" toys (despite what toy makers think), we should encourage our children to explore their own interests, no matter how unique those may be. On the same hand though, if we push our children to be completely opposed to their traditional gender roles, we might end up making boys feel embarrassed to be boys and girls ashamed to be girls.

After shuffling through pink counters, Disney princess cupboards and pastel fridges, we settled on a kitchen with red and tan colors, no girly-girl condiments and then bought a grill to accompany the toy as well and give it a more uni-sex feel.

Now that the entire ordeal is over, I can't help but wonder, when is a kitchen just a kitchen?

Tune in tomorrow for a look at "When is a kitchen just a kitchen? Part Two" where we'll explore a vegan's take on a not-so-vegan toy.

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